Today I am writing to anyone who is out there struggling with getting back on-track OR on-track in the first place. It’s easy to be all fired up on New Years Day about committing to changes we want to make in our lives but in fact, statistics say that most NY’s resolutions are out the window within the first two weeks of January. Today is January 11th and I’m not ready to lose any readers yet! If you set out to make 2016 the year of “your best body”, yet you are struggling to make the changes needed, KEEP READING because you, my friend, are definitely not alone!!
Let’s talk SUGAR. Last week I wrote all about my tale of 2015 and how I lost the weight I had gained (most of it), during my brief hiatus from Weight Watchers, using the new Weight Watchers Beyond the Scale Program and it’s healthy new Smart Points. I could write a book on the benefits of cutting out, or at least back, on processed sugar and that’s what the Smart Points food plan is designed to do. I talk about it, I believe it, I feel great when I do it, I know it works for weight loss. So why is it so hard to cut back or stop eating processed sugar once you’ve let it creep back in???
If you Google it, you will find a million reasons why added sugar and foods loaded with it cause cravings. Some even go so far as to say sugar can be an addiction. I can’t speak to the research part of it because I am obviously not a doctor, but I do know for me, the sugar habit is tough to break and comes back easily if reintroduced into my daily diet and that’s what I’m going through right now.
Before the holidays, I had stopped eating lots of sugar long enough that I almost stopped craving it. Honestly, it felt like a miracle! Sweets have always been my junk food of choice, so when I was able to fill the candy dish I keep for my nieces with Hershey Kisses and NOT even crave them, I felt like I was cured!! I know I’m dramatic, but honestly, it felt SO GREAT to not want the sugary treats. It wasn’t will power…..I truly didn’t need to eat them. I could pass on dessert and foods with lots of sugar without obsessing about. In a way, it was a miracle!!
Next came the holidays and of course I partook for the two week celebration. Now, it seems like the rotten sugar monster has returned. I’ve found myself dipping into those Hershey Kisses and I crave sweets at night, like I used to. The problem is, the more added sugar we eat, the more we want, so it’s really an endless cycle until we take control of it.
I’m sharing this because I want those of you that are experiencing this too, to know that it isn’t you! It’s not that you can’t do this and it’s not that you are not strong enough or lack the will power or how you’re destined to be! It’s NONE of those negative images of ourselves that we so easily fall prey to thinking about. It’s just a part of the process and although it’s difficult, once through it, the healthy food choices will come a lot easier and your body will naturally move towards your healthy weight. Don’t give up!!!
Here’s some of the tricks that got me out of the sugar habit before and I’m now using again to get back on track. They are not some brilliant formula but it what’s worked for me, so I thought I’d share!
- GET IT OUT OF THE HOUSE. You can’t eat it if you don’t have it.
- No one in your family needs processed foods loaded with added sugar, but it you must keep some in the house, buy the stuff you don’t like. I’m back to putting Laffy Taffy in my candy dish. Gross!
- Don’t let yourself get hungry. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT! Eat plenty of high protein, high fiber foods throughout your day. Don’t wait to eat all of your Smart Points at night.
- In order to do the above, have healthy, high protein foods prepared ahead of time so you it’s easy to choose a hard boiled egg, for example, over a chocolate chip granola bar. String cheese, Babybel Light cheese, soups, tuna salad, egg whites, dip for veggies made with fat free plain Greek yogurt and added seasonings to taste…ranch or dill are my favorites!
- Drink LOTS of water. Water is such a natural cure for so many things! Take advantage of it and track it because this time of year it’s easy to think you’re drinking enough water when you really aren’t.
- Take advantage of HOT drinks when the craving for processed foods hits. At night, herbal peppermint tea has become one of my favorite indulgences! Lattes are great too, just leave out the added syrup or go for the sugar free syrups, which are my favorite. Even hot lemon water helps!
- Find alternative sweet foods that are not triggers for you and satisfy. It’s OK to have some sugar but to limit it, find foods that satisfy you with one serving and don’t leave you craving more and more. My favorites are sugar free pudding, chocolate Vitatops, unsweetened chocolate Almond Breeze with Stevia or Sugarfree flavored syrup added, greek yogurt with fruit or already flavored with no sugar added and air popcorn spritzed with olive oil with Stevia and cinnamon on it.
- DON’T THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATH WATER! If you break down and eat something that’s a trigger, just jump right back on track! It’s a process and we are not looking for perfection….just progress!!
Again, these ideas are not rocket science, but they do work, so give ’em a try and be patient with yourself. Anything in life that’s worthwhile takes time and some effort and I can’t think of anything more important to you and your family than your health! Let’s feel good about the direction we are headed in 2016!!!
All is well!